Vol. 2, No. 1
OF THE MEEK AND THE MIGHTY
In one section of the small-mammal house the great apes
stare down at the marveling faces of visitors. Elsewhere
under the same roof the tiny short-tailed shrew squirms
into hiding beneath its water dish. Along corridors
between, people throng past more than 100 cages which.
Av’# # hold better than twice that number of mammals. At very
; §J V best, the identifying signs can tell only a small portion
r of the story behind each, for each individual animal has
its separate fascinating life history, its special personality.
The building itself was designed for larger apes as well as for
small mammals, and the National Zoological Park has a spectacular
collection in both categories. Newest addition, an important one,
is the young gorilla Femelle, 1965's surprise Valentine for Tomoka,
first son of the Zoo's adult gorillas. She raises the gorilla count
an impre ssive
five. Down the line from Femelle and Tomoka,
a shaggy red trio of orangutans , Butch, Jenny
zoo prizes. Orangutans are
and Suzie, are also
native to tropical lowlands of Borneo and Sumatra,
but have become disturbingly scarce in the wild.
This is largely because of constant habitat
destruction over the past century. Today
hopes are slim of effective protection, and
preservationists now look to zoos as potential
breeding grounds to help save the species from
i extinction. Our Zoo staffers eye Butch and his
harem with high hopes of offspring and, more
lately, have taken action with doses of
hormones. The trio, however, usually spend
yV their time devising new forms of mischief.
Orangutans have the brainpower for plenty
of schemes. They are traditionally
placed somewhere between the chimpanzee
THE FRIENDS OF THE NATIONAL ZOO
3333 CONN. AVE. WASHINGTON, D. C. EM 3 2207
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and the gorilla on the large-ape intelligence scale. Keepers need no reminding.
The long red face may be placid and mournful, but the aim is sure and the long
arm deliberate when Butch or Jenny or Suzie decides to pick up an object and
The large apes, spectacular as they may be, fail to steal the show from the
lively and varied characters around the corner and down the halls. Elephant
kin and anteaters, small gaudy monkeys and soft-eyed duikers, civets and
squirrels and coatimundis add to a collection that Uncle Remus might consider
just about "all de creeturs on dis earf. " Some, less showy than others are too
often by-passed. What is a hyrax, for example, aside from a plumpish rabbit¬
sized mule-eared individual with a furry drab coat? Plenty. The rock hyrax,
common in Africa, is the coney of the Bible as well as the elephant's first
cousin. Millions of years ago when reptiles still dominated the world and
primitive mammals were in their formative stages, a common ancestor of both
hyrax and elephant waddled through marshlands. Various branches of mammals
evolved from this early form. Most vanished. The durable lineage of the
elephant clung to life, however, but so did the alert and gregarious --if lowly
hyrax. Zoologists have demonstrated a striking similarity in bone structure
between the two creatures.
Survival in the wild is one matter, but maintaining healthy and happy animals
in zoos often presents challenges. The National Zoological Park has a way of
succeeding with difficult charges where other zoos fail. That sleepy aardvaark
is a good example. There are zoo-goers who vow that in years of patient
viewing they have never seen more than the twitching of an ear or a placid
blink from this sound sleeper. It is as if this ungainly, big-eared, humpbacked
creature made haste to reserve itself a page one listing in the dictionary and
then retired from all further exertion. He does stir, however, usually just
before his three o’clock feeding. The aardvaark, a native of Africa with a power¬
ful claw for digging deep in the earth , is notoriously difficult to keep alive in
captivity, yet the old-timer in our Zoo has been lounging around there for more
than 15 years, a world record for longevity.
Giant anteaters, South American, are also challenging to zoos. The
Cincinnati Zoo kept one for an unprecedented nineteen years, 5 months and a
day. Ours, however, will break that record in mid-November . It arrived in
Around the corner from the aardvaark, the two honey-beige fennec foxes
bewitch their public. Forever snuggled together like two soft cushions you'd
like to toss on the sofa, four brilliant eyes peer from behind a fringe of dried
palm fronds that suggest the fennec's wild desert habitat. Their personalities
are a bit thornier than their silky-soft mien suggests. As lips wrinkle back in
defiant little twin snarls, it is not hard to picture them peering above their
desert burrows in the Sahara sands, black eyes blazing, huge ears listening,
ready to challenge all comers.
Far more sociable to their handlers are the representatives of the New
World monkey (and near-monkey) set, such as the fragile-seeming marmosets,
the tamarins with their startling faces, the agile squirrel monkeys and the red
uakaris . Uakaris, incidentally, are the only New World monkeys with short
tails and are more intelligent than the other primates of this hemisphere. The
Zoo has a pair of them, one a new addition. They're worth close observation,
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these small South American oddities that stay high on their lofty perches and
manage to resemble tiny orangutans.
Thirty-nine cages at one end of the building comprise "night club row"
in the small-mammal house . They house nocturnal mammals, a few of which
have been assigned to an - -er - - red-light district. Red night lights burn all
day?:, keeping them active, while an automatic switch turns on bright lights
at night, sending the animals into shadowy corners to sleep. The slow loris,
a Malaysian relative of the monkey which in the wild relies upon slow stealth
and darkness to capture prey, has such a cage. Visitors stopping long enough
to study this slow moving, strange creature are well-rewarded. Occasionally
it will cover its eyes with its forepaws. Folklore claims this is because the
slow loris is continually seeing ghosts. Farther along the night line the African
bushbaby peers with large round eyes at the "red darkness" around it. Members
of this genus are quaint little animals with elongated foxlike faces, woolly fur
and long bushy tails. They are rarely seen in the wild, being active only at night
high in the protective foliage of trees, but their mournful cries are familiar
sounds in the African darkness.
Throughout the building, feeding schedules and diets cover a wide range.
Trays come and go. There are jars of baby food for a fussy tamandua, filet of
fish for the martens. Hard-boiled eggs along with ground meat help keep the
protein level high for the anteaters. Some animals gobble their meals in a
gulp or two. Others, daintier, prefer to make it last. The little eastern mole,
loathe to present himself above ground, snorkels rapidly upward through the
soil, guided with unerring accuracy toward the newly filled food dish above.
An eager, elongated snout probes beneath the dish and around it, as if bent
on overturning the receptacle. Surface he must, however, and it is quickly
done. Dinner of fresh mouse and dining mole vanish underground once more,
Head keeper of the small-mammal house, Gene Maliniak, cannot recall an
uneventful day in all his many years among his varied charges. Certainly,
keeper Bernard Gallagher, whose special charges are the prized great apes,
has no two days alike. To them and the other keepers falls the task of
imposing efficient order and organization upon some ZOO odd individuals, each
bent upon upsetting routine. It's hard work, but they have set high standards
and maintain them.
VIEW FROM THE TOWER
Perhaps I'm easily impressed, but it isn't every day I get to look down
on a pacing tiger not much more than five feet below me. If that pacing
tiger (Samson) chose to go up his hind legs, and if there were no bars on the
top of his 7 1/2-foot cage, I would no longer be looking down on him, but up.
And probably, in.
My vantage point is a little window overlooking the interior of the lion
house -- the tower office of Billie Hamlet, ex-officio den mother for the big
cats. Her little nook in the 73-year-old building --- oldest house in the Zoo
in continuous use for the exhibition of animals (at one time with gorillas,
alligators and pythons, as well as the then-current crop of felines) -- has
not always been the quiet place of contemplation it is today. Once it was HQ
for the Zoo police, who scattered threatening signs throughout the Park:
All lost children will be taken to the Lion House.
Even today it is not without its moments of truth. Into the soft sounds
of twittering wrens and cooing pigeons at the birdfeeder, suddenly Samson,
as only a full-grown tiger can, "coughs". Just as suddenly and quite
unbeknownst to my conscious mind there is a clear half-inch of space between
me and my chair, and I have to re-do the page I was writing. Or, take 4.30
in the afternoon, when the big cats start to talk. The very walls vibrate, roars
are amplified by the telephone in one's hand, and startled people on the other
end of the line are apt to say : "Where did you say you were'?"
It is the knowledge of the subdued strength behind that "cough" and the
realization that if a few ifs were only slightly more iffy that make the awesome
power of the pacing cats below take on a new significance. And, suddenly, I
am made more aware than ever of what those other signs around the Zoo
really mean when they say: "Wild Animals ARE Dangerous."
>’,< >!< ;!< >!< >!« # * 'r
Letter to the Editor
Vol. 1, No. 4, of Spots and Blotches has filtered down to the ranks
and I beg to comment, with some" vehemence, upon a remark attributed to
me by name on page 3. I have NEVER EVER uttered, ever in my life, any
expression like "Holy Smoke, " with or without the exclamation point. In
my youth I was given to such expressions as "Jinkies!" "Leapin’ Lizard,
Sandy" (when Sandy was around) and fCryminentlies" but never "Holy
Smoke, " NOT EVER! In all probability I said something like "Hmff, the
etc." or "Saints preserve us, the etc." or something unprintable I picked
up on Parkview Ave.
Naturally, I expect a retraction, or correction, to appear in your next
issue, along with the news that the culprit has been dismissed, whoever she
is (I wonder who). - J. Anthony Davis, N. Y. Zoological Park
(It was Mr. Davis who christened the new great flight cage "The Kookaburra
Hilton. " - Ed.)
>!< >i« >!< >!<
"Say, did you know that a club called Friends of the Zoo has a publication
called ’Spots and Stripes ? ' (Or is it 'Stripes and Spots'? Anyway, whatever
it is, they can’t change it.) -Don Maclean, Washington Daily News,
February 9, 1965.
^ ^ ^
* ❖ *
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LONG-TERM RESIDENTS AT THE NZP
58 1/2 year s
36 years ...
34 years ...
3Z years . ..
31 years ...
29 years . ..
27 years ...
26 years . ..
25 years . . .
24 years . . .
23 years . . .
20 years . . .
19 years . . .
15 years . . .
12 years . . .
9 years ...
Spiny Softshell (Trionyx ferox)
Toque, or Bonnet Macaque
MORE RECENT ARRIVAL
The National Zoological Park has a natural propensity, it seems, for
acquiring tall, handsome, charming, highly qualified, world-traveled men.
Latest member of the Zoo team rating 100 per cent on all these qualifications
is Special Assistant to the Director Donald R. Dietlein .
A native Californian with zoology degrees from U. C. L. A. and the
University of London, Don has spent a total of 1 5 years traveling and living in
Alaska, Spain, England, Africa, and the Orient, and a considerable portion of
this time as a U. S.. Navy ensign. (I asked him once where in the world he
hasn't been; he thought for a while and then brightened up with "India, I've
never been to India. " )
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As a medical entomologist for the Navy, in connection with population
shifts in the Aswan Dam area, Don lived among and worked with the Sudanese
(White Nile) tribes of Dinka and Shiluk, searching for and finally isolating
the sand fly vector of a disease called Kala-Azar, a leishmaniasis.
Don also chalks up two expeditions to his credit -- the first to British
Guiana for the University of London, studying animal life in tropical rain
forests, and the second to the Galapagos Islands as a parasitologist. For
this trip he was borrowed from the Navy by the University of California for
the Galapagos International Science Project that covered fifty disciplines.
Although an invertebrate man by training, Don's totally a zoo-man by
inclination and he’s had some good experience raising such critters as
servals, toucans, tortoises, ostriches, monkeys and gazelles. All of this,
coupled with administrative and military know-how adds up to an open-and-
shut case of how'd we ever survive without him? -- everybody's Uncle Donald!
SHE'S YOUNG! SHE'S BEAUTIFUL! SHE’S ENGAGED!
In the old days marriages were usually arranged between two sets of
parents and once accomplished, the parents sat back and waited for the best
to happen. So it often is in well-organized zoos. In some instances the
negotiations for an animal marriage are complex but nevertheless worth the
effort expended, as reproduction in captivity i s indicative of animal well¬
Our female gorilla illustrates the point and has presented us with two
bouncing boys, but in order to continue a long line of gorilla births the two
boys should grow up with a couple of nice gorilla girls, eventually mate and
add to our growing gorilla family. \
To this end negotiations were instituted to find a nice girl gorilla as a
future mate for Leonard, the younger of the two boys. We received a
beautiful young lass from the Cameroons and after being checked out by
Dr. Gray for parasites, etc., she was introduced to Leonard.
Leonard, who had never seen a gorilla from the time of his birth, was
most apprehensive of this shaggy creature who was thrust into his cage. His
apprehension quickly turned to fear as she advanced on him and his reaction
to this new cage-mate was terrorized screams which increased in intensity
and volume as she got closer. The female gorilla, named Femelle, was
highly indignant at such a reaction to her charm and beauty and responded in
a typically female way by biting him. Thus ended the hoped-for love match!
Older brother, Tomoka, thereby inherited little brother's golden
opportunity and for two weeks Tomoka and Femelle were allowed to look at
each other, reach out and touch each other and communicate from adjoining
cages. Following the end of this two-week introduction period, Femelle
was allowed in Tomoka's cage. She looked the situation over, glanced ever
so casually at Tomoka, and proceeded to sit down and select all the goodies
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from the pile of food, leaving only the kale for Tomoka, Tomoka eyed
the proceedings like a perfect host, but a trained observer could see the
slight rising of the hackles.
Femelle had a high old time feasting, climbing all over the bars,
wandering the limits of the big cage and making herself obviously mistress
of the home. Tomoka, meanwhile, stayed as far away from her as possible -
if she climbed up, he slid down; if she slid down he climbed up. If she
headed for the right hand corner, he quickly hurried for the opposite corner.
There was no question about it - - she was a happy little bride-to-be, but
Tomoka didn't act as if he was too sure about sharing his home with her.
During the afternoon they had a couple of little tiffs which cleared the
air completely and the following day they had settled down to what appears
to be domestic amicability.
Barring serious disagreements, their engagement can be announced
any day now !
FRIENDS OF THE NATIONAL ZOO
Robert E. McLaughlin, President Luis F c Corea, Treasurer
C. R. Gutermuth, Vice President Mrs. Peter Grogan, Secretary
Arthur W. Arundel
Ralph E. Becker
Mrs. RavidS. Clark
Timothy V c A Dillon
Mrs. John G 0 Harlan, Jr.
Dr. Malcolm C. Henderson
Max M. Kampelman
Mrs. Cazenove Lee
Richard K. Lyon
William H. Press
Mrs. L. Noble Robinson
Judge Russell E. Train
Gerald G. Wagner
In April, 1964, the Board of Governors of the Friends of the National
Zoo passed a resolution designating the Society's primary purpose and
function to be the encouragement of a broader zoological interest and
knowledge and to develop an educational service which would utilize all
effective contemporary media.
The President was authorized to establish an educational steering
committee, not necessarily limited in membership to present members
of the organization, which would formulate and recommend to the Board
programs designed to achieve these ends.
SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION LIBRARIES
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The Educational Steering Committee is now set up as follows:
Mrs. L. Noble Robinson, Chairman Mrs. Louis Oberdorfer
Mrs. Ord Alexander Mrs. Sanford Randall
Monroe Bush Mrs. John Steele
James Godard Judge Russell Train
Miss Marion P. McCrane, Consultant from the Zoo
After consulting with Dr. Reed and the staff of the Zoo, it was decided
that the primary need of the Zoo at this time is an information pamphlet
which can be distributed by the Zoo in response to requests for information.
Upon recommendation from the Education Committee, the Board of
Governors decided to go ahead with this project. The pamphlet is now
being planned and it is hoped that it will be ready for distribution later
The committee, again after consultation with the staff of the Zoo, then
decided to look into the possibility of preparing "quiz sheets" for the use
of school children visiting the Zoo.
Many zoos have these quiz sheets. They are printed sheets of paper
with questions, and with space to write or draw in the answers, which can
be found either by observation of the animals or by reading the signs. These
sheets provide an added interest to a school tour and encourage the children
to closer observation of the animals.
The sheets can be prepared on different levels of achievement (identifi¬
cation of pictures for kindergarten and first grade, simple questions for
primary grades, harder scientific questions for high-school level). They
can also be prepared for use in specific classes or programs (a class
studying South America or Africa, for instance) . They can also deal with
classes of animals (birds, reptiles, mammals).
This program is obviously going to require a great deal of preliminary
consultation with the schools of the area. We must first discover if the
schools would find these sheets useful and if so, the levels and the subject
matter they would find most useful. After that, if we decide to go ahead with
the program, preparing the sheets will be a large task.
If any members of the Friends of the National Zoo would like to help
in any part of this program, it would be much appreciated by the Committee.
If you are interested, please call the chairman, Mrs. Robinson, EM 3-2285
Contributors to this issue of SPOTS AND STRIPES: Jocelyn Arundel, Jean
McConville, Marion McCrane, Billie Hamlet. Editor: Lucile O. Mann
Cover picture: Male cottontop marmoset and his hybrid offspring (Saguinus
midas X S. oedipus).